200 electric vehicle charging stations to be installed in King County

King County Council approves program to install up to 200 public charging stations for electric vehicles

The Metropolitan King County Council gave a boost to electric vehicles on Monday with its unanimous adoption of legislation increasing the number of locations where cars can charge up.

“Electric vehicles are the future of transportation. We need to be prepared with the infrastructure to make them work,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the ordinance. “This is the first step toward a cleaner future. In three years, the council will see what the next steps should be.”

“As the demand for electric cars increases, the government should be an active partner in advancing new clean vehicle technology,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, a co-sponsor of the ordinance. “I’m very pleased that King County is taking a leadership role in creating a local network of charging stations.”

New technologies are making electric vehicles — battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (“BEVs” and “PHEVs”) — economically feasible to own. With automotive manufacturers set to launch the nation’s first mass-produced, reasonably priced, plug-in electric vehicles this year, King County has been looking to new electric vehicle technology as a key to energy-efficient transportation and job creation for the coming decade.

Last summer, the council adopted a motion calling on the county executive to establish policies for the development and operation of electric vehicle charging stations located on property owned or leased by King County.

The ordinance adopted on Monday approves a program to install up to 200 charging stations at county-owned, leased or partnering organizations’ facilities, such as Metro Transit Park and Ride lots. The majority of the funding for the construction of the stations will come through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with the county investing no more than $500,000 in utility upgrades to county properties.

User fees will cover the cost of operating the facilities, which would be available by reservation to commuters and casual users as well as vanpool and vanshare programs.

The ordinance also calls for a council evaluation of the program in three years based on affordability, usage of the charging stations, cost recovery and public benefit.

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